That time Dave Mustaine called out trendy jackasses while Megadeth toured behind Cyptic Writings

By Steve Newton When it comes to the so-called “Big Four” of American heavy-metal acts–Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax–I tend to pick Metallica as my fave. But I do like a few Megadeth tunes as well, “Symphony of Destruction” being particularly hard to beat. I’ve interviewed band leader Dave Mustaine three times, the first being … Continue reading That time Dave Mustaine called out trendy jackasses while Megadeth toured behind Cyptic Writings

Album review: Megadeth, So Far, So Good…So What? (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 20, 1988 By Steve Newton Another great album title from the young metal dudes that brought you Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? Led by former Metallica member Dave Mustaine, these Yankee headbangers sure do make a racket, from the opening instrumental “Into the Lungs of Hell” to the anti-censorship “Hook … Continue reading Album review: Megadeth, So Far, So Good…So What? (1988)

Album review: Megadeth, Countdown to Extinction (1992)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 17, 1992 By Steve Newton Used to be that whenever Megadeth albums like Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? or Killing is My Business…And Business is Good came my way, I’d pass them off as just too thrashy and evil-sounding for my more melodic sensibilities. That was good news … Continue reading Album review: Megadeth, Countdown to Extinction (1992)

The last time I interviewed Marty Friedman he was thrilled to talk about Megadeth; today not so much

By Steve Newton The last time I talked to guitar legend Marty Friedman he couldn’t stop talking about Megadeth. Mind you, that was 24 years ago, when he was a member of Megadeth. Today I interviewed Friedman for the first time since May of 1991–when Megadeth was in the midst of the Clash of the … Continue reading The last time I interviewed Marty Friedman he was thrilled to talk about Megadeth; today not so much

Dave Mustaine calls out today’s trendy jackasses on Megadeth’s Cryptic Writings

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 26, 1998 By Steve Newton When the conference-call operator connects me with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, I’m expecting to be hooked up with the guy in America’s centre of loud music, Los Angeles. But it turns out the snarling metal man has settled down with his family—which includes … Continue reading Dave Mustaine calls out today’s trendy jackasses on Megadeth’s Cryptic Writings

Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson believes metal is a powerful force in the ’90s

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 26, 1992 By Steve Newton More than any other metal tune in 1992, Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction” was the one that made this jaded, riff-ravaged semi-headbanger sit up and take notice. Driven by a brutally direct, ’70s-style guitar riff, the sharp-edged cut was a welcome respite from the … Continue reading Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson believes metal is a powerful force in the ’90s

Megadeth kicks the most butt on the Clash of the Titans tour

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 30, 1991 By Steve Newton Marty Friedman is one happy camper. The Megadeth guitarist is soaking up the sunshine in El Paso, Texas, just hours away from the fifth show in the four-band Clash of the Titans tour of the Lone Star state, and he reports that things … Continue reading Megadeth kicks the most butt on the Clash of the Titans tour

That time Randy Hansen told me about exchanging ideas and creating animal sounds with Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen back in 2001 I learned that he had known Stevie Ray Vaughan quite well. I was cool to hear Hansen reminisce about Stevie Ray opening shows for him in Austin, Texas, and the two of them creating animal sounds on guitar. Have a … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me about exchanging ideas and creating animal sounds with Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I made Gordie Johnson’s day by telling him that Bruce Fairbairn admired his production work

By Steve Newton It’s fun to pass on compliments sometimes. Like when I was interviewing Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson back in October of 1998. A couple weeks earlier I’d interviewed famed Vancouver producer-to-the-stars Bruce Fairbairn, who’d mentioned that he was impressed by the production on Big Sugar’s latest album, Heated. When I told Johnson … Continue reading That time I made Gordie Johnson’s day by telling him that Bruce Fairbairn admired his production work

That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Tony Iommi, the Riffmaster General, twice: the first time was back in ’84 when the Ian Gillan-fronted Black Sabbath was touring behind the Born Again album, and the last time was in 2007 when he was back with Ronnie James Dio in the Heaven and Hell format. As the second … Continue reading That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Warren Haynes six times, because he’s one of my favourite musicians of all time. I can’t get enough of his voice, his guitar, and his songs. And even if they aren’t his actual songs I’m crazy about ’em. Like when Gov’t Mule recorded the traditional gospel-blues tune “John the Revelator” … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me how he came to record the haunting “John the Revelator” on Gov’t Mule’s Dose

That time I asked Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

By Steve Newton Way back in April of 1984 I interviewed Trevor Rabin, who at the time was the new guitarist in Yes. The band was on a world tour supporting its latest album, 90125, which had spawned the hit single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and was topping the charts. At one point in … Continue reading That time I asked Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin whether Steve Howe was a hard act to follow

That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

By Steve Newton I interviewed British guitar legend Albert Lee back in July of 1986, when he was touring with the Everly Brothers as their musical director. After chatting with Albert about how he first got involved with the Everlys, I asked him how it was different touring with them than with Eric Clapton, whose … Continue reading That time I asked Albert Lee how it was different touring with the Everly Brothers than with Eric Clapton

That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Jason Bonham back in 1989, I asked him what it was like growing up with a father who was world-famous for being the drummer in Led Zeppelin. Turns out it wasn’t that big of a deal to him. Have a listen: To hear the full … Continue reading That time Jason Bonham told me that his famous father in Led Zeppelin was “just dad to me”

That time Joan Jett told me that it was the power of the people that made “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” a hit

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Joan Jett back in 1992 she was touring behind her Notorious album, which, while not a bad album, wasn’t exactly racing up the charts. Jett explained to me that it didn’t help that the record wasn’t getting much promotional push from Sony, the major label handling distribution. Then she … Continue reading That time Joan Jett told me that it was the power of the people that made “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” a hit

That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Robert Cray four times, ’cause I reckon he’s one of the tastiest guitarists who’s ever strapped on a Strat. This was the first time, back in January of 1996, when he was touring behind his Some Rainy Morning album. Ten years earlier Cray had gotten a bit of a boost … Continue reading That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

That time I asked Edgar Winter about his old pal Rick and his big brother Johnny

By Steve Newton The best musicians always try to surround themselves with the best musicians. For Edgar Winter that wasn’t hard. When he was born he already had a big brother named Johnny waiting at home, and they would become close musical collaborators throughout their lifetimes. Another hugely talented player that Edgar hooked up with … Continue reading That time I asked Edgar Winter about his old pal Rick and his big brother Johnny

That time Tony Carey told me that he thought “The First Day of Summer” was going to break his new album wide open

By Steve Newton Way back in May of 1984 I interviewed Tony Carey, who I’d been a fan of since I heard him playing keyboards on Rainbow’s colossal Rising album of 1976. At the time of our chat he was promoting his new solo album Some Tough City, which was doing well on the charts … Continue reading That time Tony Carey told me that he thought “The First Day of Summer” was going to break his new album wide open

That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

By Steve Newton Mott the Hoople is one of my all-time favourite bands, and Ian Hunter is one of my all-time favourite rockers. I interviewed him and Mick Ronson separately on the same day–September 9, 1988–when they were headed to Vancouver for a show in advance of recording their awesome 1989 album YUI Orta. At … Continue reading That time Ian Hunter told me that what sells Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter–or what doesn’t sell Ian Hunter is Ian Hunter

That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

By Steve Newton We’ve all heard the old joke before: “What do you call somebody who hangs around with musicians? A drummer.” I think it’s fair to say that drummers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I haven’t interviewed that many over the years–for the simple fact that I prefer talking to guitarists–but some … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he’d spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey three times. Man could that guy wail on the Strat! The first interview took place in June of 1988, when he was just 22, and still three months away from releasing his incredible debut album, See the Light. When I … Continue reading That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora’s solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora’s lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi’s, especially on solo tunes like “Ballad of Youth”. So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Kenny Wayne Shepherd four times, ’cause I’m a sucker for folks who can play the shit out of a Strat. The first time was back in December of 1995, when he was only 18 and touring behind his platinum-selling debut album, Ledbetter Heights. At one point in the conversation I … Continue reading That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

By Steve Newton As April Wine once said, “I Like to Rock”. I like to rock as well, but once in a while a beautiful, gentle ballad is, as Ted Nugent once said, “Just What the Doctor Ordered”. But enough about April Wine and Ted Nugent. This little blog’s about a softer-rockin’, more prog-oriented band … Continue reading That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

By Steve Newton I’ve long felt that John Fogerty was the biggest triple-threat in rock: as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, few can match him. I’ve also always hated how, for years after the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty couldn’t even perform the incredible CCR songs he’d written, for legal reasons. The old CCR … Continue reading That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

By Steve Newton I missed out on the MC5 when they were a major musical force on the American counterculture scene in the late ’60s. And it’s not just ’cause I’m Canadian. I was only 11 when their groundbreaking Kick Out the Jams debut album came out, and at that point all I listened to … Continue reading That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s